Choosing boots for a big adventure is a tricky one. Traditional touring boots may well keep your feet warm and dry but may not be up to the rigours of the odd off-road foray. Conversely, full motocross-specification boots will be excellent for protecting your feet and lower legs but could prove too rigid and unforgiving for road use. These Adventure boots from Forma though fit nicely between these two extremes.
These have won various awards in the past and I chose them for a two-day foray around narrow country lanes with some gentle off-roading as well as a 500-mile round trip to and from the riding location, putting in around 800 miles in them in two days and was really impressed.
First things first; they are tall, adventure-style boots with three buckles to fasten them. The straps on the fasteners are adjustable, much like ski boots, so you can tension them for a snug, secure fit without them being uncomfortable with one strap over the bridge of the foot, one at the top of the ankle and one, the top of the boot. There is also a Velcro tab at the top with an elasticated section to prevent water from running in if they are worn outside trouser legs.
They are formed in oiled leather with suede areas and there are concertina sections in the front and the back to allow the foot to move forwards and backwards on the brake and gear pedals.
There is a Drytex waterproof and breathable liner to keep water out but allow the foot to breathe and there is TPU protection on the ankle and a large section on the shin. There are also strong heel and toe cups and there is also a triangular TPU protective section on the outside of the edge of the foot.
Despite looking chunky, getting them on is easy; the lining is soft and supple and the waterproof gusset has plenty of give to let you slide your feet in easily. The strap at the top of the boot means you can adjust it to fit your lower leg perfectly – useful to cope with different sizes of calf muscles, for example. You can also adjust how they fit over the foot and the ankle.
Once on and adjusted, the foot is held firmly and snugly but without feeling constricted. There is plenty of room to wiggle toes and there are no tight spots nor bits that stick into the feet. And that feeling of comfort and reassurance does not diminish with time in them, unlike some other forms of boots.
I usually struggle with boots that are supposed to support the foot and the leg – skating or ski boots, for example – and can generally only wear them for 30 minutes or so without them beginning to hurt.
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However, in these, I put them on and forgot about them. The first time I wore them was for a five-hour cross-country and motorway jaunt and they felt as good at the end as the beginning. Cross-country, the feel for the bike was great and movement for the gear and brake pedals was spot on. On the motorway, I forgot I was wearing them and they were warm and in a sudden downpour, dry too.
The following day out on small adventure bikes, they worked just as well on tight, narrow single-track lanes with plenty of movement and feel for the controls. When we left the tarmac behind and ventured off-road, they worked too.
Standing up, they felt secure on the bike’s footpegs with plenty of grip and they transmitted the feelings from the bike, of movement and grip, perfectly to the feet and legs.
On top of all this, they handled the odd water splash well and when it came to hopping off the bike to grab a coffee, they were as comfortable on the ground as the bike. There is clearly plenty of protection – they score the higher of the two ratings – a2 – in each of the three areas they are tested under the CE rating program, gaining the highest rating possible.
These would work on any big bike adventure, on or off-road and keep you warm, dry and protected.
Highest CE rating for protection
Excellent grip for the bike and off it
Leather construction no good for Vegans